Trump asks supporters to sign 'Stand for the National Anthem' petition

Eli Harold Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reed kneel during the national anthem before a NFL game. Protests have reached down to the college level as students reconcile with divisive language

The Trump campaign released a petition encouraging everyone to stand for the national anthem. The meeting between owners and players ended with no agreement on the thorny issue of protests during "The Star-Spangled Banner", which has bitterly divided the sport and fans of the game.

"The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem".

The petition was released October 19, one day after Trump posted tweets criticizing the NFL's recent decision not to force players to stand during the national anthem.

The owners chose to not force players to stand for the anthem, and Goodell was clearly displeased, but supported the decision.

We are fully aware that in this culture war he has cynically escalated, Trump has the support of millions of fans, who just want the multi-millionaires on their teams to stand up, put their hands on heart, and sing. Total lack of respect to our great country! Trump's remarks sparked a furious backlash amongst NFL players, team owners and league officials, with large-scale protests by players during the anthem in the weekend following the president's tirade. "We did not ask for that", Goodell said.

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He assured that the National Football League did not want to " not do politics", considering that the topics of protest were " complex ".

The controversy began at an Alabama rally on September 22, when Trump called for action against those kneeling during the national anthem-a protest begun by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the 2016 preseason against the social inequality and treatment of black people across the country.

He said the players "will state to you, and they have stated to everyone publicly, they are not doing this in any way to be disrespectful to the flag", Goodell said.

"I think most of us believe that attempting to force the players to do something that they don't want to do is not going to be effective in the long run", New York Giants co-owner John Mara told The Washington Post.

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